Saturday, September 10, 2011

Burning, Escape to Town and Falling

Thank heavens, Joe is almost in bed. He has been more than a handful today. He was on me this morning at 10:30 a.m. because he wanted me to go out back and burn. Huh? Gah! I didn't get to sleep till 2:00 a.m. For crying out loud, at least let me sip my first sip of coffee of the day.

Point of fact, it's pretty dry here. Not as dry as Texas and Oklahoma. The Gulf and the Northeast have been getting all the rain. Point of fact, it's still a bit breezy from Hurricane Lee. Not a lot breezy, but enough that coupled with dry grass, it could be very dangerous.

"No, Dad," I moan. "There's a No-Burn Order."
"You can't tell me what I can and can't do!"
"It means the Sheriff says you can't burn. It's too dangerous."
"The hell it is. Give me some matches."
"No." Sigh. "You couldn't put an accidental fire out if your life depended on it. You can't stomp. You can't shovel. You can't even move the hose. There's a No-Burn Order."
"Gimme some matches!!!"

He walked away. Thirty minutes later I was in the kitchen when the phone rang. Anita Lambert, down the street, said, "Gayle, Joe's walking down the highway." "Oh, Lordy, thank you for letting me know."

I dashed to the car, bra-less. At least I put my teeth in. I drove down the highway. No Joe. "Oh, heavens, did he fall in a ditch, and I missed seeing him?" I asked myself as I turned around. One-quarter of a mile back up the highway and turned around in the driveway. No Joe. So I drove back to town. There were a bunch of people at Helen's house. I turned onto her road, went down another road. No Joe. I turned left to go a block to Main Street.

Sandy (our sitter), in her van, stopped at the corner in front of me. "Joe's loose." I yelled at her. "I know," she yelled back, "I'm out looking for him." Huh??? How on earth? It's only been a couple of minutes since I talked to Anita.

I turned left onto Main Street and figuring burning, matches, and going to town, slowed down to turn into Hocker's (local grocery store.) There's a girl in a van in the next parking spot waving and smiling at me. She pulled out. Julia and Carol were at the front door nodding their heads "Yes, he's in here" at me. Sandy was down the street at the insurance office to check in there. I yelled to Sandy that I found him. She yelled back a-okay, cool, got in her car and went back about her business.

As I approached the door to the store, Julia, Carol, and Larry, were all helping Joe come out. I moaned, "No matches." Julia nodded her head yes, and there's Joe with his little sack of a big box of matches. Sigh. It took a few minutes to get Joe straightened out on the fact that his ride to town had disappeared and been replaced by his evil daughter.

When he got in the car, I asked him to put his seat belt on. When he dropped the sack o' matches to put his seat belt on, I snatched it and tossed it in the back. On the way home, he informed he wanted his matches back. "No." I replied. "I'll whip your ass," he yelled at me. "You just go right ahead. Have at it." was my reply.

When we got back to the house, I got the matches out of the back seat and hid in a closet before he had even made it into the den. I tried to sidetrack him with lunch. Yes, he wanted lunch. Then he wanted to know if I was stealing his matches. "Yes." "Those matches cost me $2.75." he told me. "Big deal." was my reply, thinking of the $35 spent on gas yesterday so he could mow the lawn. He left for the den.

I took him some lunch, and all seemed calm for a while. In about an hour, he got up and went outside to mow. I heard him make 1 run down the yard he mowed yesterday. Then I realized I didn't hear the lawn mower. I looked out the front door, and Joe was laying on the ground at the property line on the right, nearly at the highway.

It's still not apparent if Joe tripped and fell or simply had a faint spell and laid down. He was laying on his side like he was just sleeping. Of course, I ran out there, still bra-less. The last time he fell, he had enough strength that I could help him get up. After ascertaining that nothing was broken, he told me "It just started at my feet and swept up over me, so I just laid down here." I tried desperately to get him up, but I can't do it now. He's lost enough strength that he can't help anymore. He and I weigh about he same. He's 125, and I'm 135. At 57, I simply don't have the strength to get him up.

Fortunately, at about the same time, the neighbor came running out to help, and a guy on the highway stopped to help. The guys got him up, and the neighbor lady and I got him started on the way back to the house. The neighbor guy pushed the mower back to the garage.

My goodness, I could not believe how garrulous Joe was. He didn't want to walk; he wanted to mosey. He wanted to talk to the neighbor. He wanted to reminisce about her driving him to town this morning. He wanted to insult their yard (they haven't been good at mowing this year.) He wanted to stop and show her the tree. Then he asked her if she'd seen him. We both think he meant seen him falling. She told him yes, and I think for a minute he teared up. She finally got away from him, and I got him sat down on the porch with a drink and some Ibuprofen.

Five minutes later, he was back at their house trying to get them to come out. They were either gone as they were planning or stayed inside and didn't open the door. I managed to snag Joe's arm and lead him back to our house. The whole way he was nattering on about they're different from us and pointing out the bad mowing. For God's sake, Joe, do you think they can't hear you if they are home????

I got him inside this time, and he sat down on couch. He started babbling on again about how nice that neighbor had been to take him to town. How did everyone know he was at town? Duh, because everyone on the street knows to watch out for you. Finally after about the third round of the nice neighbor, my nerves had had enough and I asked him,
"What about your daughter who has moved away from her husband to move in with you and care for you the last two years?"
At least it stopped him in his tracks. When you're dealing with someone like Joe, you know you shouldn't say things like that. Yet, sometimes, they just burble out. You know they don't have a frellin clue that you've moved in with them. They don't realize you lived with them every other week for a year, and then finally just gave up and moved in with them; that your husband lives 150 miles away, and you only see him 2 days a month. Yet when they go on and on about a nice neighbor giving them a ride to town, you just can't stand it. You want to do something that will stop them in their tracks; you want to make them acknowledge what you're doing. Even when you know it is totally useless.

Whether he was just worn out or finally calmed down, I don't know, but Joe finally quit trying to mow or burn and just meandered and sat for the rest of the day. Lola simply sat in her chair. She didn't have a thing to say other than wondering if he heard me. She didn't realize he'd disappeared. She didn't realize he'd fallen. She's contented as can be in her chair.

Later on I called Jill and was talking to her about the day. She rather surprised me when she told me about talking to Jeanne about me caring for my parents. Jill said that when both Papa and Ninny (my grandparents) went down, Jeanne can't seem to grasp that Elizabeth, Jeanne and my mom were in their early 40's, while both Jill and I are nearly 60 now. Jill also said she told Jeanne that Jeanne knows good and well that if it hadn't been less of a commute and more convenient for Scratcher to move to Arlington, he would never have agreed to it when it came time to care for Ninny. Jill bets there would have been major warfare in their household, and Scratcher would have never stood for Jeanne moving to Arlington to care for Ninny.

She also said she told Jeanne that I was exceedingly lucky to have a husband as good as mine about being amenable to this. She figures Jeanne ought to realize that both Scratcher, Jeanne's husband, and Joe, Jill's husband, would never ever have accepted them moving away for over a year to care for their parents. I know I'm exceedingly lucky to have a spouse that isn't making my life any more of a living hell while I try to care for Joe and Lola.

Jeanne is oh, so, sympathetic; yet, she can't imagine me not moving away from my husband to move in with my parents. Jeanne asked Jill what, for goodness sakes, Jill and Joe expected when they got old. Jill just looked at her and said they'd discussed it and both agreed it would be time to go into assisted living. Neither of their children can be tasked for caretaking - one's not lived in Waverly for over 20 years and one's not capable. Jeanne was appalled. Jill is appalled that Jeanne is appalled. Jeanne's not going to be able to care for herself in a few more years. What's going to happen then? She can't pay her bills or manage her money herself now. What does she thinks going to happen when she can't move anymore, cook meals, or dole out her medicine? Exactly what room in Jill's small house is Jeanne going to occupy?

When you start out on this road, you think you just have to do what has to be done. Yet, you don't think it'll go on forever. By the time you get two years down the road, it's beginning to wear on you. When you start out, you believe you'll be one of those that does what has to be done and not be a complainer about it. By the time two years have gone by, you're tired and you're complaining, dammit. You're lonely, you're worn out with the round of feeding, herding, trying to please every whimsy to avoid a tantrum. You begin to wonder just exactly how many more years it can continue. At least toddlers grow up and get more intelligent and capable. Old people just get worse.

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